The DAT file extension is used by hundreds of different software programs and applications. This general file extension contains information in the form of anything from video to text. DAT files contain special information without which many programs will not function properly. DAT files often confuse people because there is no default program used to open and install them. Users must place the DAT file in its proper file location before it may be installed.
Determine with which program the DAT file is associated. Look at the file name for clues. If the DAT file was downloaded, consult the website. Look at the containing folder for clues as to what program uses the DAT file. Open the DAT file in "Notepad" to look for clues. Open an audio or video DAT file with Windows Media Player to see the contents.
Place the DAT file in the correct folder. If the DAT file is already in a folder associated with the correct program, skip this step. Consult forums and websites about the proper folder for the DAT file. For example, DAT files that contain scenery information for the Roller Coaster Tycoon video game must be placed in the "Parks" folder to function properly.
Launch the associated program from the "Start" menu or desktop icon. If the DAT file was placed in the correct folder, it will be installed automatically.